Legendary Indian athlete Milkha Singh, popularly known as 'Flying Sikh, passed away in a local hospital here at 11.30 pm on Friday, said a statement from the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, where he was being treated for Covid-related complications.
Milkha was 91, and is survived by a son, ace golfer Jeev Milkha Singh, and three daughters.
He was born in Layalpur, in undivided India and now in Pakistan. His love with athletics began after he enrolled himself with the EME Corps of the Indian Army.
Six days ago, on 13 June, Milkha's wife Nirmal had passed away. A former India volleyball captain, she was 85, and she too was affected by Covid and related complications.
A glimpse into the stupendous athletics career of legendary Milkha Singh, can be had from this mind boggling fact: his 400 metres Indian national record stood for 38 years and the 400 metres Asian record for 26 years.
In 1960 in Rome, he came closest to winning an individual Olympic Games medal as an Indian, in 400 metres, eventually finishing fourth in a photo finish.
Until Rome 1960, no Indian had come so close to winning an individual Olympic medal; in hockey, though, India had been a dominant force.
Later, in 1984, P T Usha missed a bronze by a whisker in 400m hurdles at the Los Angeles Olympic Games. She clocked 55.42 seconds, and missed the bronze by a mere 0.01 sec.
Milkha's 400 metres Asian record of 45.63 seconds stood for 26 years, before being broken by Susumu Takona of Japan.
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